Victim of disgraced surgeon demands public inquiry at Yousaf meeting

Theresa Mallett said the First Minister had ‘appeared to be listening to my concerns’.

A victim of disgraced surgeon Professor Sam Eljamel has told Scotland’s First Minister in a face-to-face meeting that only a public inquiry will restore trust in the NHS.

Theresa Mallett, 61, from Glenrothes in Fife, met with Humza Yousaf on Monday after she disrupted his speech at the SNP’s independence convention a fortnight ago.

She suffered life-changing injuries in 2012 after undergoing botched surgery for sciatica by the neurosurgeon while he worked at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

Ms Mallett, who has joined forces with the Action Group for Eljamel Public Inquiry, said she is one of 117 victims of the ex-NHS Tayside doctor, who now works in Libya after removing himself from the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2013.

The meeting comes after minutes of an NHS Tayside meeting, released by the Scottish Government under freedom of information legislation, revealed the health board had seen an “escalating number of complaints” regarding Prof Eljamel.

Following the meeting with the First Minister at her home in Fife, Ms Mallett said Yousaf “appeared to be listening to my concerns” and promised to look into her health care.

But she said: “I reminded him that this wasn’t just about me, this is about 117 patients failed by NHS Tayside. But it’s not just NHS Tayside, it’s the staff and management who enabled him. It’s the other NHS health boards. It’s about rebuilding trust for the public in the Scottish NHS system – they need to be confident that they will receive safe health care.

“In order to do this, as I told Humza, requires a full public inquiry. Why did it take me to have to heckle him to get him to speak to me?

“I have made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that it’s a public inquiry that I want, the patients need, and the public must see.”

Yousaf told the grandmother he would write to her with an update on her call for a public inquiry.

At First Minister’s Questions last week, Yousaf said the likelihood of Prof Eljamel co-operating with any inquiry is “very, very low”, but added a “public inquiry hasn’t been ruled completely off the table”.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We have taken action following the meeting and will continue to do so, including the provision of an update on the process that will be put in place to review the understandable concerns which former patients have.”

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